A Zig-Zag Walk to the Cruiseport

On days when I’m doing tours for cruise ship passengers, I park in a Massport lot and then walk to the Flynn Cruiseport at the Black Falcon Terminal. Ordinarily I would take a straight path from car to Cruiseport. A couple of very big things get in the way, however, and force me into a zig-zag route.

The Starting Point to the Cruiseport

My Massport pass allows me to park in what’s known as the Cell-phone Waiting Lot. That’ space is reserved for people who are picking up passengers as they debark from a cruise. Family members can sit in their cars and wait for someone to call and say, “Come get me.” Usually, though, it’s just us tour guides taking up a few spaces.

The following map gives you a visual guide to my walk.

Seaport, Flynn Cruiseport, walking map, Innovation Design Building

Follow the Route

  1. Park at the Cell-phone Waiting Lot.

This is not actually as simple as it seems. Massport changes the entrance to the lot on almost an annual basis and without any notice. When I first started in 2018, Massport located the entrance gate about halfway down Swordfish Way between Fid Kennedy Ave. and the harbor.

Then it moved to a gate located at the end of Swordfish Way, right at the harbor’s edge.

This year, it shifted to further up Fid Kennedy Ave. Why? Massport is storing a lot of what appears to be construction equipment on the northern half of the lot behind chain-link fence.

I knew nothing of this until I arrived at the closed and locked gate last month and had to figure out a way in. Driving around the block and back up Fid Kennedy Ave. I saw an open gate. The only existing sign said “Do Not Enter.” But this is Boston, where officialdom thinks signs are superfluous. If you don’t know how to get there, you probably shouldn’t be going there to begin with. I turned in and, to my surprise, found a second sign directing me to the Cell-phone Waiting Lot.

Once there, I park, put my pass on the dashboard, and head for the pedestrian gate leading out onto Fid Kennedy Ave. That starts the zig-zag walk to the Cruiseport.

  1. Walk to the Flynn Cruiseport.

Boston Ship Repair, Atlantic Ship Repair, Innovation Design Building, Seaport

A Ship in Drydock

Instead of walking straight across from lot to Cruiseport, I go to the corner of Tide Street and head south. The reason for this first zig is simple: the large drydock owned by Boston Ship Repair/Atlantic Ship Repair. One simply cannot take a short cut across a chain-link fence and a huge hole in the ground that is sometimes filled with water and a large ship but other times empty. In addition, this piece of private property holds a lot of heavy equipment. Don’t even think about a shortcut.

  1. Find the Right Gate

Innovation Design Building, Seaport, Related Companies, Jamestown, Marine Industrial Park

The Innovation Design Building Today

At the south end of Tide Street, I reach Drydock Avenue and find myself facing the Innovation Design Building (IDB). At a third of a mile long, this structure would be taller than many of Boston’s skyscrapers if stood on one end. The Flynn Cruiseport is located on the other side, along the Reserved Channel. I have to go around the IDB and that’s no small thing.

Now, I usually know at which gate I need to reach for the right cruise ship because the tour company gives me advance notice. Massport has three gates, or terminals, at the Flynn Cruiseport. They are:

  • Terminal 1: Warehouse – located in the middle of the Cruiseport
  • Terminal 2: Main – located at the west end of the Cruiseport.
  • Terminal 888F: Empty Space – located at the far east end of the pier, beyond the Cruiseport building.

A Dearth of Marketing

None of this makes any sense to me. First, because the numbering doesn’t go in sequence. And why isn’t Main number one? Second, because no one at Massport seems to understand marketing. Would you as a tourist want to go to a gate labeled “warehouse?” How about “empty space?”

It would be so much easier to name these three gates, or terminals, after famous Boston ships. There could be Gate1- Old Ironsides, Gate 2 – Flying Cloud, and Gate 3 – Arbella. Why not make visitors feel like they’re tourists stepping right into history instead of merchandise being stored in a warehouse? Try a little marketing, Massport.

  1. Go Around the Innovation Design Center

Viking Neptune, Flynn Cruiseport, Boston

Viking Neptune at Terminal 2 – Main

Knowing the right gate is crucial for taking the short way around. If I’m going to the Empty Space or Main, I zag left, walk along the building’s north side and across the east end. For the Empty Space, I then head straight toward the Reserved Channel but for Warehouse, I turn right and walk back along the IDB’s south side.

To reach Main, I zag right at Drydock Avenue, walk along the west end of the IDB and back along the south side. Taking the wrong turn means a long walk to reach the right place.

A Pleasant Walk

Then I can get ready to go to work—and that’s the fun part.

I don’t mind the walk to the Cruiseport, really. It’s good exercise and I can often smell the sea. Planes fly either in or out of Logan Airport over the harbor, depending on wind direction. I like to watch the progress when there’s a ship being refitted in drydock. It always goes much faster than I anticipate. And the promenade along the north side of the IDB is a cool and pleasant place with lots of chairs and some good places to get take-out food. (I recommend Al’s Subs.) Something is always going on.

The zig-zag always strikes me as inefficient, however. I think, “There has to be a better way.” To be honest, though, I can only think of a pass-through in the IDB to avoid the long walk-arounds. In the meantime, I’ll keep walking.